PETA Members to Warn Families to Steer Clear of Dangerous Circus

After Child Witnesses Abuse of Elephants, Protesters to Alert Parents to Shrine Circuses' History of Violent Incidents

For Immediate Release:
May 16, 2014

David Perle 202-483-7382

Kissimmee, Fla. – Armed with signs and leaflets warning families of the cruelty to animals—and the danger to kids—inherent in circus performances that use animals, a group of PETA members will gather outside the Silver Spurs Arena on Saturday, the opening night of the Shrine circus. The protest comes just a month after a 5-year-old and her mother saw elephant handlers with a Shrine circus in Pittsburgh jab three elephants with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end. Weeks before, these same three elephants escaped from the children’s ride area at the Moolah Shrine Circus in St. Charles, Mo., and roamed around a parking lot for nearly an hour, damaging parked vehicles.

When:             Saturday, May 17, noon

Where:           Silver Spurs Arena, 1875 Silver Spur Ln. (off E. Irlo Bronson                                      Memorial Highway), Kissimmee

“Elephants who are beaten into performing have been known to lash out—and when they do, the results can be deadly,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Delcianna Winders. “PETA is asking families to stay away from the circus—for the sake of the animals and their kids.”

In 2010, an elephant kicked a Shrine circus handler, throwing him approximately 20 feet and killing him, and in 2009, at least 15 children were injured when an elephant who was being used to give rides at a Shrine circus knocked over a stairway. PETA has called on Shriners International to switch to animal-free events, such as the Los Angeles Shriners’ Spring Carnival.



For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind